October 27, 2015In Bob's Fitness DiaryBy Bob Manser22 Minutes

Week 4 – Day 1


Maximum effort on the weekend to improve on the amount of food I ate.

Well done Bob. It’s easy to get sidetracked, and I’m a big believer that life must come first. But where you can, try to make it work with life’s challenges!

Sean had sent me some new guidelines for cycling carbs to use. I have arranged a food plan to incorporate this and today is the first day of putting it into practice. Today being low carb.

The gym was very busy tonight. So I had to improvise for the chest press.

Using dumbbell chest press instead. I felt like it worked my muscles independently as opposed to the barbell. I worked that to failure on the last set as a result. Although as the plan said bench press I would rather of done that.

If the gym’s busy, it’s busy. Ideally we want you to stick to the same exercises so we can note the progressions and ensure you make progress next week. However, if you have to adapt and overcome, you have to do that. I’d rather that than walk out the gym because it’s too busy.

Straight into pull ups to failure/inverted row. Lowered the supporting weight and again reached lower reps to failure. Good effort Bob. Every week this progresses, I’m pleased. Keep it up. But very pleased with how many I did. The TRX rows were great although more reps than normal they were towards failure too just scraping the last few reps with good form.

Brilliant. It really sounds like you are forcing the failure and not taking it easy. Keep it up.

Overhead press was the same weight I don’t feel like I could improve the weight yet. Working hard to finish these sets, to had to dig deep and just finished the sets. But I will crack it eventually.

You can lift less weight with an overhead press, so any increase is a large percentage of that lift. Stick with the weight at the moment and if anything try to add an extra rep. It will come and you will increase weight eventually.

Incline dumbbell press. I upped the weight for this again. Which is nice… sort of. I was able to concentrate more this time on ensuring I was squeezing the muscles and controlling the weight more. Failure at 11 3rd set.

Brilliant. Well done on this.

Bent over row. Upped the weight. But by now my muscles were feeling it. Too tempting to throw and bounce the weight up. So took my time with the reps and sticking to the tempo the best I could.

Superb. How often do you see that though? Someone using momentum and other muscles to move a weight. Fine if they are training for power or the like, but in general that’s not the case. Very, very pleased with your mental control here especially as you were getting tired. Big chuck up Bob.

Seated dumbbell Shoulder press was horrendous. Failure 3rd set at 7! I lowered by 2 kg and finished the set. Although I am not sure if that was right to do that or not. I think this was due to the higher weights in the previous exercises. A little annoyed at this but will try again next session.

I think it was the right decision Bob. by the sounds of it, you are working really hard in these sessions. By upping the weights early on, your body is fatigued by the latter stages of the session and hence you are struggling. Just keep doing what you’re doing. Listen to your subconscious, it seems to be guiding you in the right direction at the moment.

Power cleans. I upped the weight for these as the first set felt easy. By the time I finished these sets my biceps, forearms and shoulders were burning and I was blowing! Pushing and pulling workouts are enjoyable because of how pumped my arms and chest feel. Really pleased with some results and the effort required to finish all the sets.

I am very, very pleased with this session Bob. A huge improvement and if you keep it like this you’ll do very well. Power cleans are always taxing, hence they are a “finisher”, so well done again.

Post workout shake, banana and home for some lean steak, rice and veg.

Great choice!

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Day 2


High carb day today.

Woke up hungry and not sluggish as normal; maybe due to yesterday’s low carb day. Bowl of muesli and insta oats to start. To fit in the carbs for the day, I sometimes find it’s easier to have one of these on the way to work.

  • Pecan nuts and walnuts as a mid morning snack.
  • Chicken, broccoli and rice seasoned with cayenne pepper for lunch.
  • 2 Boiled eggs for afternoon snack

Sounds good Bob.

Gym session:

Deadlifts 8 – 12 reps. Lower than the last session. Meaning a weight increase in my mind. Just a 2.5kg increase. It was tough but I finished although sweating and blowing I was thinking I could have done more. So upping another 2.5 next session more if needed.

Slow and steady wins the race. If you’re sweating and blowing it’s doing the trick. Well done. Add next week, but keep it to 2.5kg. Slow and steady.

Squats. What a squat session! The bad session last week had shaken my confidence, but after this session I can forget all about it. Although still learn from it! I upped the weight recommended 2.5kg. But then increased it by another 5, as after the first set I found it too easy,. After upping, everything was better. Form felt good, the depth of the squat felt good. So all in all very happy with that.

It’s all coming together Bob, well done. There’s often a point where the technique suddenly clicks and you feel the exercise working the way it’s supposed to. Really pleased with your enthusiasm here. Obviously shows things are going in the right direction. Keep it up!

Front squats. Feeling pumped after the squats I though I’d better not push my luck, but I still upped the weight as recommended and had to increase again 2nd set. 3rd set getting past 10 felt very difficult but finished it, making funny sounds as I did. Not a fan of grunting out loud in the gym but had no choice.

I’m not a fan of grunting either. If someone does it on every rep it is largely for effect. If the odd grunt comes out unexpectedly it’s usually real and needed. Go with it. You can always apologise to those close by afterwards.

Straight leg deadlift. This exercise I didn’t think I’d be able to progress on much. But increased on the 2-2.5 by quite a bit. Not wanting to over do it I judged how I felt at that moment and it worked well. 3rd set was painful to finish and the faces I was pulling may have looked amusing. I was glad it was my last standing up exercise. Call me lazy. Go on.

Hahaha. After all those squats and deadlifts I think it’s fair to say you earned a sit down. At least more than most men fighting women on the tube for a seat at 6pm in the evening anyway. Sounds like another good set. Just ensure the exercise is “taxing to the muscles” rather than “painful”. If it’s hard, that’s fine. If there’s real “pain”, you need to re-assess the choice of exercise and your form. You can always send me a video of you performing an exercise for feedback if unsure.

On that: for anyone reading this, if you aren’t sure you are doing something right, get someone to video it and compare what you do with what others do on the net.

Leg ext. Increased weight by the recommended amount but concentrated on the motion and the tempo. It feels strange isolating the muscle after the squats.

Strange but it should be doing the trick!

Leg curls. Again upped the by the same weight. This was near failure.

Good man.

Roll outs. I had to use a big exercise ball for this with my forearms on the ball, it didn’t give me the same stretch as a roller but I couldn’t find it in the gym.

The ball works, but not in the same way. In the future try these before the swissball:

  1. TRX rollout
  2. Foam roller rollouts
  3. Barbell rollout

Incline reverse crunch. It’s difficult to keep technique but I will keep trying to master it.

It’s tough, especially after rollouts. Less reps if needs be. Or take a break between reps.

Sit ups with a medicine ball.

Kettle bell swings. Felt more like a cardio session to be honest. My weak muscles had to work hard to keep the swing. I tried keeping it from swinging through momentum which caused it to look a bit jerky and unnatural. Practice makes perfect. I finished these sets absolutely knackered.

Kettlebells should feel more like a CV session. Furthermore, a good kettlebell swing will be momentum other than the hip drive to fire the bell up. As before, any worries check videos on YouTube or send me a video of you doing them to check.

Craving my post workout creatine, whey and casein and banana.

Trying wholemeal pasta tonight with some more steak.

Another good day Bob. You certainly seem to be getting into the swing of it. Keep it up.

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Day 3


Rest day; low carbs.

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Day 4


Low carb day today. The difference between high and low carb days are notable I feel hungrier more often on low carb days. Maybe it’s my body getting used to it.

It might be that. Your body getting used to fueling from stored body fat instead of ingested carbs. Or it may be a little in the mind. Either way, you will look and feel a different person by the end. 

Pushing and Pulling session:

Bench press was great today improved. Upped 5kg from what I lifted before. I initially upped by 2-2.5 and found I could finish the set to easily.

Wow! Well done.

Pull ups to failure into inverted row. I lowered assisted weight and subsequently did less pull ups and more rows. WOW. I was able to lower myself to the point where I was literally parallel to the floor with my back inches off of it and completed 2 sets and failed on 3rd at 8. An achievement in my books.

Improvements and progressions each session Bob. This is awesome stuff. Keep it up. You should feel proud and inspired.

Overhead press. I decided to use the Olympic bar tonight to complete this to up the weight by the 2-2.5… which I’m not able to on the rubber ended barbell. Astonishingly, I improved again, the graft is definitely paying off. No funny movements and perfect form as well.

Don’t know what else to say other than; brilliant. You were patient. Used the same weight for a few weeks and then upped it with success. 

Incline dumbbell press was easier today. Finished all sets on a higher weight. Really happy about this too.


Bent over rows. I had seen some lads put their head on the upright bench and I thought I’d try it today. I should have done this sooner as the difference was seriously effective. It prevented any other movement from my back and stopped any bouncing. I was able to up the weight as well much to my delight. Until halfway through the 2nd set, where the muscles were really tired.

Just be careful of your neck. You’re right, this does stop other movements. But it also asks the neck to do a little something extra it doesn’t always do. As long as you feel no adverse affects, this is fine. Any neck pain. Don’t repeat. Well, done on the lifts though.

Shoulder press was the same weight but I think the next time I will able to up that. I hope anyway.

You achieved a lot this session, so best to leave something for next time around!

Push press was the finisher tonight. What a great exercise. The overhead presses made this difficult though. But finished the sets very tough towards the end of 2nd set making the 3rd set almost to failure.

Intentionally cheeky after the shoulder press and hopefully one that will help take the shoulders on for next week. I’m a big fan of push press too. It really is a great finisher as the whole body has to do something with the bar ending up overhead.

Superb effort on today’s session Bob. I am really pleased with the progress.

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Day 5


Today has been a day of hunger but I am sticking to my calories and macros. It’s a high carb day as tonight’s session will be lower body involving the usual squats and deadlifts.

Probably a result of yesterdays huge efforts on a low carb day and also a bit of the mind getting used to carb cycling. I find most people find the first 2 weeks the hardest. Break that and you’ll be fine. Just keep at it.

The deadlifts felt a lot easier tonight; surprising because of the DOMs I have had since Tuesday. I upped it again.

It can sometimes be that training sensibly and in a controlled manner is the best cure for DOMs. Well done for increasing once again.

Squats were also easier. I upped the weight on this too. I finished the sets and completed all the reps. Just.

Flying again Bob. Well done!

Front squats. Still difficult after the normal squats sweating loads after these sets. I have reached the limit to the weight for now.

That’s fine. Stick with it like the overhead press and it will come. You are still sweating so the session is doing its work. Go with it.

Straight leg deadlifts. Still the same weight.

As above. Just let the progressions come when you feel confident with the exercise.

Leg extensions and leg curls were the same. The DOMs were causing this to be harder than I should have been.

Hahaha! Well done for working through it. The muscles will start to recover a bit quicker. If not, get a foam roller and use it the day after leg day.

Ab work was great still working on the incline bench crunch.

TRX squat jumps. What a finisher. 20-25 reps for 3 sets. Sound easy, but you’ll be a fool to think so. Especially after the heaviest lower body workout since the beginning of the programme. 3rd set only able to get 18.

Well done! I can vouch for this being horrendous. It’s the worst finisher after a heavy leg day. The burn! Well done on getting the reps for set 1 and 2. And 18 for 3rd set isn’t to be sniffed at. Well done.

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Day 6


Sprints. 2 x 600m 6 x 400m. Great for the DOMs couldn’t feel any after this. I did it on the treadmill this time, with the belt running whilst I stood on the sides at 15kmph. Instead of the walking recovery. I just waited for the distance to clock the nearest 0.10km. Much better on the treadmill. No choice but to keep up the pace!

Well done Bob. I agree. A bit of running is always good for the DOMs as long as a thorough warm-up takes place.

Great effort on the sprints by the sound of it. And yes, treadmill does make it easier in terms of keeping pace and timings etc. Just make sure treadmill is at 1.5% or 2% as this is closer to outside running.

End of this current microcycle. I cannot wait for the new workouts.

From my point of view, what a great week to end it on. You have had an outstanding week. Your best yet. And now you can take that inspiration and motivation into a new microcycle. 

I’m very happy with everything at this point Bob. Keep it up.